Over time with industrialization and the introduction of fast and easy comfort food, proceeded food has eventually become a day-to-day staple of modern households. Albeit the convenience, these prepared food bring about an array of health problems and inconveniences in the long run.
Firstly, the inclusion of trans fats, refined carbohydrates, high sugar content and artificial flavouring have been identified as major contributors to diabetes, obesity and the increased levels of cholesterol leading to cardiovascular illnesses.
Obesity is identified as a major health concern globally and research has reflected that processed food sit on top of the table as a contributor. Although these food tend to taste well to the consumer, they are low in macronutrients which are needed for the body and high in caloric content. The excessive consumption drives a caloric surplus leading to storage of fat cells and eventually causing obesity. This outcome is compounded by the lack of fibre in processed food as fibre acts as an agent to slow the absorption of carbohydrates and also helps to keep you full. The lack thereof causes overeating. Fibre also promotes gut health due to being rich in prebiotics, the lack thereof leads to many gut related illnesses such as gastritis and indigestion. Refined carbohydrates found in processed food also play a role in leading to obesity as refined carbs are broken down very quickly as opposed to conventional carbohydrates leading to spikes of blood sugar and insulin. Once these levels stabilize, the consumer is often faced with a lack of energy and reinstated hunger, leading to overeating. This rapid fluctuation of sugar and insulin also results in type 2 diabetes in due course.
Processed foods are also riddled with Trans, or cheap fats. Due to being inexpensive and having a longer shelf life, they are conveniently used in processed foods. Trans fats are directly linked with creating inflammation in the body and they also increase the level of LDL cholesterol which is detrimental to the body leading to cardiovascular risk.
Perhaps the most daunting of all is the tremendous amount of sugar found in processed food. Food companies often achieve this through the use of high fructose corn syrup which essentially has no nutrients but is dense in calories and sugar content. Excessive consumption of sugar in the long run can cause insulin resistance. This is an illness where levels of insulin is not regulated and often leads to excessive consumption of food and decreased fat metabolism. Refined sugars are also the primary cause for type 2 diabetes which is a pressing illness amounting over 422 million patients globally and is also the cause for over 6.7 million deaths just in 2021.
In conclusion, processed foods; although they satiate your cravings and feels good to consume, are riddled with many detrimental effects to the human body over time. In this day and age, they have become a major aspect of our diets but we are better off replacing them with healthier alternatives to lead a more healthy and balanced life.